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A lot has changed in Los Alamos since Nona Bowman first sat down in a chair at the county council dais.
Eight years ago, the boundaries for “downtown” were yet to be determined, and other zoning questions remained to be answered. A case in point: the Trinity site was designated to become residential.
She described the infrastructure as bad, and there were far more power outages than what is currently being experienced. And not unlike today, the school district was concerned with state funding cuts.
In short, Bowman, along with the rest of the council, had her work cut out for her.
“I do think that when you take on the job of being a councilor, you have to remember it’s a full-time job,” she said.
It’s not just going to meetings, councilors need to meet with the public and delve into the issues, she said.
And while not everyone in the community readily embraces the decisions any given councilor makes, Bowman said she has worked to do what is best for the community. Even though her time on council is ending, Bowman said she will continue to try to help the community’s best interests.
Bowman, along her husband and two children, moved to New Mexico in 1982. She initially taught at Santa Fe Public Schools but relocated to Los Alamos to teach in the gifted student program.
She said it was a “very rewarding job.” In fact, many of Bowman’s former students have kept in touch with her, letting her know about weddings, births and graduations.
Bowman was asked three times to run for councilor.
She served two terms on council and acted as chair for one year. “I feel my experience in general has been positive,” Bowman said.
Some of her main objectives were to turn Los Alamos into an attractive destination for visitors and improve its infrastructure.
“I really think it’s a beautiful setting and I think we should enhance the beauty of the town,” Bowman said.
One of the projects she was pleased to see come into fruition was the Canyon Rim Trail. She said she looks forward to seeing the trail extended throughout the town.
Nancy Bartlit, a friend and former county councilor, said it is a “terrible loss” to Los Alamos to lose Bowman on the council.
“She’s an exceptional public servant,” Bartlit said. “She’s intelligent; she’s experienced and responsive to her constituents.”
Although Bowman will step back from council, she said she is pleased with the new crop of councilors who have stepped forward.
“I think there is a good slate of people to select from,” she told the Monitor previous to the election. “All the candidates are sincere and I’m sure they’ll make decisions that will move Los Alamos forward.”
Some of the issues she hopes the new set of
councilors address include working to make Los Alamos attractive to businesses, visitors and residents; continuing to improve the infrastructure, and implementation of the White Rock Master Plan.
“I think the county can have a very bright future but it’s going to take energy and work to be able to achieve our vision,” Bowman said.
While she will be stepping away from the work on county council, Bowman will continue to be involved and she hopes to be among those who help usher the county into a brighter future.
In speaking about the future, Bowman has long been an advocate for young people. Before her election to county council, Bowman said she served on the Casa Mesita board and she expressed concern that the organization had to close its doors due to a lack of funding. The organization was involved in helping troubled adolescent girls.
Additionally, she has served on United Way, and she also served on a state committee that evaluated the effectiveness of the state’s troubled youth program.
“I will watch the council with interest,” she said. “I know from experience their task is not easy. There were no shirkers in my eight years on the council. Everybody did right as they saw it although there was a considerable bit of disagreement. Altogether it was a rewarding and broadening experience and I encourage others to take their turn.”